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Archive - August, 2004

----- 08.29.2004 --------

Well, as you can see, I've been busy snapping away with my new digital camera. I'm really loving the way the pics turn out! I had some coupons for some free prints from Henry's so I went up today and got some 4x6's done. WOW! They look amazing. However, I don't think they're using all of the 6 million pixels. Although high res, I think I would need them printed bigger to take full advantage. Anywho, these two pictures, both taken last night from my roof, were shot in 6 megapixel mode. That's a whopping 2848x2136 image! I wish I had a monitor with that kind of resolution!!! I'll settle for the 1600x1200 I'm currently running on my 21". ...I digress... Back on track here.... these pics are 640x480 (technically, they're 480x640). If you want the full size copy of these, or any other pics you see on my site, just ask.

Btw, I finally got some resolution on the speedometer for my inline skates! Atleast I've been told so I will, and last time they followed through. Microsport, based in Germany, will be sending me a whole new unit. They've been great and I wish everyone's customer service was as good as theirs! I don't think I'll be able to get much use out of the speedometer this season, but there's always next season :) Speaking of blading, I went out for the usual 16.5 K tonight. This time I had company because Chris skated with me after we had our workout. I've been pretty happy with myself! I've been committed to 4 nights/week @ the gym AND I've been blading an average of over 60 KM / week :) What a difference from the previous me.... the smoker me! I'm so glad I quit! It's been a year April and I don't miss it at all! OK, that's a lie... I'm tempted from time to time, but never enough to actually take a drag. I fear if I do it would lead to another 10 years of smoking! OK... that's all I've got for now. Take care all....

----- 08.29.2004 --------
Well, Friday we had an unexpected bonus, although I could be paying for it today. There was a fire on the 45th floor of the Royal Trust Tower, the building I work in, located in the the TD Centre. I work on the 34th floor. Sometime around 3 PM, the lights dimmed and we thought the power would fail, however it held on. Not long after that, we could smell something burning, but couldn't quite find where. We realized it was our whole office and it was coming from the ventilation system. As time went on, we could hear people evacuating in the stairwell behind us. Eventually an announcement came over the PA stating an "alarm condition" on the 45th floor. No fire alarm went off. We have drills twice/year that disrupt business... but a real fire? Maybe they won't notice... Anyway, eventually our office made the decision to close shop around 3:30. The office really smelled and there were reports of head aches. Also, from a safety standpoint, maybe we should leave. So, into the stairwell and down 34 floors I went. It was great! Getting off early on a friday? Who can't enjoy that? So I made my way to the gym, had a workout and it was shortly after 5 with a free schedule ahead of me. I was going to go to the Festival of Fear over at the Toronto convention center with Blake & his girlfriend. When got there, we found the line to get tickets was HUGE! And there were people dressed of like all kinds of things. What was going on?!?! There were 3 other conventions... Comic Books, Anime, and Sci-Fi! Admission was for all 4, but there were only 4 boothes selling tickets and the resulting line was HUGE! We decided not to go. I guess Blake went yesterday, but I skipped it. So, last night I'm realizing I'm not getting any email on my blackberry.... or "the 9 o'clock page" I would usually get from our monitoring server to state that 145 devices are monitored, and 0 are critical. Atleast that's always the desired page on a friday night! I take a peak out my window and sure enough, the Royal Trust Tower is black! No power. So, I've called a bit about (Sunday morning) and apparently the power came up yesterday (saturday) sometime after 3. That's funny.... I had been calling our voicemail system since the power went out as a "power check" of sorts and have yet to get an answer. Uh oh... maybe that friday afternoon wasn't a freebie after all! Regardless, I gotta head in to power everything up. I only hope EVERYTHING comes up smooth.... including the phone system! Having said that, I better head into work now.... I've got about 20 hours before people will be coming into work tomorrow morning.... Happy Sunday!

----- 08.23.2004 --------
This morning began like any other.... right up until I got to Union Station. There was a herd (for lack of a better word) of people moving away from York street @ Union Station. Weird. Anyway, I keep going and if the caution tape never told me to turn around, the cop did. I got into the herd with the rest of the cattle and plodded along. Man, people who don't normally walk places (in this case, GO trainers) walk slow! When walking is your primary mode of tranportation, you learn to pick up the pace! Anyway, where was I going with this? Oh yes, after my detour I get to work and find out there was a hostage situation at Union station! And it started right in the food court of the TD Center, which is where I work! Fortunately I didn't see any of the "action". Early reports had everyone confused. For the full story, click here. On a totally unrelated note, I put up a new animated gif (on the left). Like it? I thought I'd have a little fun while getting rid of the handlebar I'd been growing. As much as I like it, it was starting to irritate me a bit. So why not pull out the cam and have a little fun? :) I just spent the last couple hours screwing around with it. In fact, as I write this I'm waiting for some animation processes to finish. But don't worry.... by the time you read this, it'll be done. Be sure to click on the picture for more... or here!. Anyway, back to the gif construction... it's almost done now! I hope all is well with you all. Cheers!

----- 08.23.2004 --------
I typically don't "talk shop" on my site, but I was just wondering if you've taken the leap to SP2 for Windows XP yet. I have @ work and encountered all kinds of problems. Since I've already given a run down of the problems (and resolutions) I had, I figure I'll just paste the email here for you. Hopefully it may help some of you sometime soon as you move to SP2. In 120 days, it will be "forced" upon you with Windowsupdate.com. That in itself is a good thing because I'm sick of your compromised, zombie-PC stirring things up on the net. OK... not all of you... but probably most! Anyway, here it is... Cheers!

After installing SP2, my LAN connections didn't appear and a bunch of services wouldn't start. The first thing I figured was windows firewall. But, I couldn't get to the advanced tab on my LAN connection because there were none! The folder was empty. When you're in Network Connections, there's a "Change Windows Firewall Settings" button. I clicked it, but the service failed to start. I manually started the service, and could manually start all of the ones that wouldn't start on their own.

The weird part is that the event log never said anything about services not starting. They would start when you asked them to, but just not at startup for some reason, even though they were set to automatic. Eventually, after starting the firewall service, windows said there was an error and would fix it. Still problems after a reboot, but atleast I could "configure" the firewall. I disabled it. Reboot again, and my connections were back.

However, the services (one of which was PGPsvc) still didn't start. When I clicked on dependencies tab, I got WIN32: Access is Denied. I ran DCOMCNFG and lossened up the DCOM settings a little. After that, I could see the dependencies. I then went back and hardened the dcom settings to where they were (& rebooted) and sure enough, I could still get to the dependency tab still without the error.

But the services still wouldn't start. I could see they were all RPC dependant somehow or another. When checking the service, I could see it started. In the event log, NOW there was a message stating RPC couldn't start right away. Strange. When I looked at the logon settings for the RPC service, it has an account defined: NT AUTHORITY\LocalService. This was strange because almost all the other services had the "Local System" radio option checked, not an actual account & pw. I changed the radio button and voila! It worked!

Now I can reboot and get everything.

One more thing I forgot to mention. Just as RPC was using "NT AUTHORITY\LocalService", so was the TCP/IP NetBIOS helper service. It wouldn't start at startup, but the RPC would. Changing the "NT AUTHORITY\LocalService" to the radio box: Local System fixed it as well. Now I could actually have my scripts run and get my drive mappings.

Not sure if this will be applicable to you or not, but it's something handy to know. That LocalService didn't really stand out in the a list of services. Before SP2, all of this worked. I had actually installed and uninstalled SP2 FOUR times.... the services pre-SP2 used that account without a problem. Fortunately the problem was persistent with SP2 and would go away without it. Come back with SP2, go away without it.

If I come across anything else, I'll let you know.

One more thing... if it's any consolation, my machine not only had beta versions of SP2, but RC's as well. I never had these problems with any of the pre-release builds, and I ran them all.

----- 08.18.2004 --------
As I mentioned last night, tonight I was having dinner with my Mom, Grandma, Aunt & cousin. It was awesome. Even though it poored rain while BBQing, it was great! ....wipe that drool... :)

----- 08.17.2004 --------
I'm just sitting here waiting for my groceries to come from Grocerygateway.com. My window tonight is from 9PM to 10:30PM. It's currently 9:30 so they can't be too far away. Tomorrow evening I'm entertaining my Mom, Grandma and Aunt. I'm going to BBQ for them up on the roof, so I really hope the weather cooperates. If it doesn't, I'm guessing I'm going to get wet while they wait in my place. On the menu (being delivered soon) will be Salmon, bacon-wrapped scallops, shrimp, veggies and a nice cherry pie for desert. The salmon I will BBQ my favorite way, which is on cedar planks. I'll marinate the fish for atleast 2 hours, while the plank soaks in water for the same (or longer). For the salmon, I'll use some olive oil, chopped fresh basil, lemons, crushed sea-salt & ground pepper to marinate it. I've done the fish a number of times this summer and have yet to screw it up. Now's NOT the time to start! I'll also Q the scallops & shrimp. The last time I had these scallops, they were the size of hockey pucks! Delicious! And the veggies? I bought a grill-top wok earlier this summer that does a great job on mixed veggies. It's shaped like a regular wok, except is full of holes and has a non-stick surface. I usually soak the vegetables in a sundried tomato & oregano dressing. It keeps the veggies from burning and adds some great flavour! And to finish it all off, a cherry pie :) Hungry yet? I am! So... where did I leave off? Yes... a quiet saturday night. Well, it was a good thing, because I was really active Sunday. I played some more squash, and then went for another blade (to Humber bridge again). Yesterday, after work, I hit the gym for a great hour+ shoulder workout then strapped on my blades again for a little more punishment. This time I went the other way, East to the Beaches. It's a longer trip... close to 20 K. I hauled ass there and back in an hour and 15 minutes. Feels great! Unfotunately the speedometer I got for my blades doesn't work. I contacted the manufacturer, MicroSport, based in Germany, and their customer service was great! They sent me a new "puck", the computer that sits inside the wheel, and a batter service kit at no charge. Even after changing the puck, the batteries, and trying a slew of other things, I couldn't get a reading on the watch any further then about 3 inches away. I can't really blade that way.... and I don't know anyone who could, although it'd be funny to see! So, now I'm in the process of either finding out that the watch is defective and get a new one, or just send it back for a full refund. I really love the product, assuming it will work as advertised, and hope they can get me sorted out with a working solution. Anyway, that pretty much brings us up to speed. After work today I hit the gym again, and then home to relax and clean a bit. I'm not too keen on the cleaning though, which would probably explain the length of this update! Are my groceries here yet?!?!? It's quarter to 10! Anyway, I really better go clean or something. Cheers!

----- 08.14.2004 --------
Just what I needed... a nice quiet saturday night to myself. I went out last night and had a lot of fun. It started w/ a party up on the roof. Paul & Blake through a BBQ and the food was awesome! Paul's a chef so he catered the event himself. There were steak, chicken, and pork skeweres, ribs and 3 or 4 different salads. Great eats! The ribs were amazing... the meat was falling off the bone... :P~~~~~ After that, I had a PK (Peyote Kings) Party at their new jam space up around Davisville subway. It was fun to catch up with a bunch of people I haven't seen in a while. After that I made it over to Croc Rock for last call & reunited with the crew from the party on the roof. Turned out to be a late night! I got a call from Chris today around 1 for some squash. I haven't played in months, and today was a bad day to get back into it! Hangover or not, I got up, showered, and made my way to the gym. We played for about an hour, then Chris had to head off to work. It felt great! It hurt. But it still felt good to be back on the court! My knees were a little sore... I think I'm going to have to keep a close eye on them. The doc prescribed my some anti-inflamatories a few months ago and that seemed to help. If he said that didn't help, he gave me a referral for some physiotherapy. I figured I'd give me knees a break and give up squash for the summer. Of course, the broken rib made that pretty easy to do. SO, back in the court and I still got it :) That's my subtle way of saying I won. OK, not so subtle anymore... ;) At this point my hangover wasn't too bad. I came home and relaxed on the couch for about an hour then through my blades on and booted down to Humber Bridge and back. I won't kid you... it felt like a lot of work! But, after all this, I feel much better now! I'm relaxed and had some good eats for dinner. I just finished watching American History X on DVD, and I think I'm up for another movie. I just got Predator (the 15 year digitized anniversary edition) and I think I'll pop it in. I haven't seen it in ages! Funny thing about that movie is 3 of the actors found their way into polics! Arnold and Jessie "The Body" Ventura, and some other dude. Can't remember who... Anyway, the DVD came with a free ticket to see Aliens VS Predator. Score! I have until September 5th to see it... I think I'll go next week. Who knows, maybe I'll go tomorrow. Anyway, I guess that's about all I gots to say. Hope all is well with you all. Cheers!

----- 08.11.2004 --------
I got a new camera today! My current/old one, a Fuji F601, had some bad pixels. 3 of them to be exact. Anyway, I mapped out the x,y coordinates of the burnt out pixels and brought my camera into Henry's. I had bought an extended warranty w/ my camera 2 years ago and qualified for Anti-lemon protection because the CCD failed twice during the manufacturer's warranty of 1 year. Let me just say this: Henry's anti-lemon protection is awesome! Without any hassles, they exchanged my faulty F601 for a brand-new Fuji FinePix F610 right away! The F601 has a current price tag of $350 and they had them in stock. However, their policy is to give the current model, as long as the price doesn't exceed the original price. So, this F610, with it's $899 price tag, is one hell of a bonus :) It's the one I was hoping for as I walked in, but I thought I'd have to fight for it. I didn't even mention it and they told me it was the one I was getting. It's a 6.3 megapixel camera and although I've barely shot with it yet, I can tell you I'm definately impressed with the pictures! At 6.3 megapixels, the .jpg's are a whopping 1.5 MB. It even has an interpolated 12 megapixel mode that I haven't tried yet! This thing does it all and I can't wait to get out and start shooting. Stay tuned for some new photos in the near future! Anyway, I guess that's all that's new. Everything else is pretty much the same... work, gym, and roller blading. Tomorrow night I'm going to see a Radiohead overband play the "OK Computer" album at the Pheonix. Once a month they have a cover and a couple months ago I saw Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden cover bands. It was sweet! Anyway, that's about it. I'm off to bed. Hope everyone's doing great. Cheers!

----- 08.04.2004 --------
I don't know about you, but I had a good weekend! It seemed to include all the elements that make up a good weekend: rest, partying, outdoors, friends, and non-boredom. For the non-boredom part, I'll put movies in that category. Friday night I went to see Bourne Supremacy. I had just seen Bourne Identity a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I heard good things about the sequel so I thought I'd see it. It was the first time I've ever been to the movies alone. And it was great! It's not like movies are an overly social event anyway, except for maybe the post-film discussions. The big Famous Players Paramount is just up the street from me... less then a 15 minute walk. I was in the mood for a movie, pulled up Famous Players' Website and saw the movie would be on in 20 minutes. Without much thought, I threw on some jeans & a T-shirt and walked up to see it. It was great! I think I'll see more movies like this. Too often I can't schedule a movie with someone else and end up missing a lot of movies I want to see. Well, that's coming to an end! On the topic of movies, I saw "The Village" tonight. I enjoyed it, but it was weird. I won't tell you anything about it, but it's one of those hit or miss movies. You'll like it or you won't. I don't see much inbetween ground for it.

And still on the topic of movies, I saw Woody Harrelson today! He was in a shop in Kensington Market. I headed up there to meet Jamie & Heather for the last "car-free" sunday of the summer. Unfortunately it rained, but atleast not the whole time. It was on and off, either pooring or sunny. All in all, I had a pretty great day! As for yesterday, it was good too! I met up with Sean and Antoinette and went to the Beer Festival at Old Fort York. It was really fun, but I think it's outgrown the venue. It was packed! Well, that was my weekend in a nutshell. I think I could go for one like this every week :) Except for the Beer Festival part.... those are fortunately only once a year! Well, I'm off to bed. I hope everyone's doing well. Cheers!

----- 08.04.2004 --------

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip. It started from a Northern port, aboard 2 tiny ships. OK, not ships... canoes. This weekend I went up to Temagami (90 KM north of North Bay) for a canoeing trip. Ron (aka Ronatron) and I had been planning this since about March. Not specifically the whats or wheres, but we had the dates booked and the enthusiasm to take us. A couple months ago Ryan, keys-extraordinaire for the Peyote Kings, showed interest and said he was onboard. Along the way, we picked up 2 others: Deb (Ryan's sister) and Sabreena (a friend of Ryan's). So, there were 5 of us up to the task. We made our way up to Temagami last Thursday (July 29th) and got in with a couple hours to spare before dusk. The plan was to quickly get the canoes and head out right away. We hit a few snags along the way and daylight was quickly running out. It became clear that we would not set out that night. However, we did get the canoes down to the launch point and set up camp there. We collected firewood, setup tents, and cooked dinner. On the menu? "Rock burgers" and chicken! Rock Burgers? Yes.... we cooked burgers on a really hot rock :) They turned out awesome! Be sure to see the pics! I think it was Ronatron's idea since we couldn't find pots & pans (great start, eh?).

Anyway, I've got some pics to post and some stories to tell. Be sure to read the captions on the pics (which I hope to post tonight, time allowing). K, back to the story. Friday morning we woke up bright & early and started getting ready for our voyage. After our trip, I looked at the map and figured it was somewhere around 45 KM. Not a bad weekend excursion! We got the canoes in the water and packed, then hopped in and away we went, leaving civilization behind for a few days. After we left, I think we may have seen about 6 other people outside of our group. It was so great and we truly felt alone out there! After a few hours of paddling and a portage, we hit our first snag. We were "stuck" in a marsh. Yes, we could move our canoes, but to where? We couldn't find where we had to go. We knew exactly where we were on the map, but we were stuck. Ted, back at the Outfitters, had told us there was a trick to this. He said we'd curse him up & and down and call him a lyer. We did. For many, many hours, we searched the shoreline by foot in hopes of finding a portage, back-tracked all the way to the previous partage to see if there was river or something we missed. We had radios which were handy! Ronatron & I were in one canoe, Ryan, Deb & Sabreena were in the other. After hopelessly searching, we held the canoes together out on the water and decided to have a long overdue lunch. We contemplated turning back.... on our first day. NO! We can't! After lunch, we took another crack at it. You see, there's this mound in the marsh that ran from one side to the next. It was too shallow and mucky to even get to the mound to try & walk over it. Finally, I found it! The mound was actually 2 long, windy mounds. And between them? Our river to freedom! We pushed through the narrow gap barely wide enough for a canoe. One look at the current flowing past the vegetation on the bottom told us we were heading in the right direction. Once we had positively found the "secret level" we yelled for the others to follow. Like us, they couldn't find the entrance. I got on the radio and repeated directions over and over the best I could. The funny thing is I could wave my paddle in there air and they could see it.... they just couldn't get to us! Eventually, I was able to guide them to the entrance to the "Secret level". Secret level? It was like that video game you got stuck on and stopped playing. Finally, something that had been overlooked was found and the game could be played on. What a relief!!!

After all that, we passed the Beaver Damn which was marked by Ted on our map. We were going the right way! we got to the portage...a real long one at 1.5 K! I threw a canoe up on my shoulders & Ryan tackled the other. We were so excited to be past the point where we were stuck that the portage didn't seem to matter. Pushing further felt great and we rocked that portage! On many other days, there's no way I'd have the drive to do it! Eventually we set up camp.

I could go on and on, but I'll save it for another time. I'm going to turn my attention to getting the pics posted tonight. I hope to scan the map in and create an image map out of it with stories, pictures, and points of interest you can click on. It may not happen, but it's a good thought and if I can find the time, I'll do it. First things first... a simple gallery for now!


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